Northern drought fuels need for water deliveries

By Mike Dinsdale -
Remembrance Lake, Queen Elizabeth Park, Masterton, dries up in drought. Photo / APN
Remembrance Lake, Queen Elizabeth Park, Masterton, dries up in drought. Photo / APN

As Northland's drought bites, rural residents on water tanks are having to call for deliveries.

Water carriers across the region have been busy with increased demand.

It can cost anything from $250 upwards - depending on where the homeowner lives - for 10,000 litres of tank water, but the situation is not as bad as the big drought in 2010 which saw many water carriers rushed off their feet.

A spokeswoman for North End Contractors in Whangarei said the company was getting numerous inquiries from rural residents about water supplies, but many seemed to be hanging on as long as possible in the hope that rain would come.

She said the company was busier than over the past couple of years, but nowhere near as in 2010.

"There's also a few more water carriers around than then, but we've had a lot of people ringing up for quotes," she said.

"Just today we had somebody ringing up from near Dargaville for a quote as they can no longer get water from Dargaville."

Whangarei Heads homes and baches were providing many customers at the moment and one Heads' resident spoken to by the Northern Advocate said his tanks were the lowest they had been for more than 20 years.

Dargaville Water Carriers said it was filling up 10 water tanks a day up until last Friday when the Kaipara District Council stopped any further water being taken from the Dargaville water supply.

The company now had to take water from the Ruawai supply, which added costs and meant it could only do four loads a day, a spokeswoman said.

"We were almost double what we were doing last year and even more than in the 2010 drought, but the restrictions mean we can't do as many now. The town supply has to come first," she said.

She urged people wanting a tanker of water to book as soon as possible, but accept that there may be a wait.

A spokeswoman for Kaitaia Water Carriers, which supplies the area from the Hokianga and Mangonui north, said while the company was far busier than normal delivering water, it was far worse in 2010.

"In 2010 the drought started a lot earlier than this one, but we have seen an increase this year, with things starting to pick up about three weeks ago," she said.

Rain is predicted for Northland this weekend, but it's not expected to be enough to break the drought.

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